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Hearts September 28, 2012

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

There must be hundreds of hearts living under this roof. Maybe thousands.

It’s an old house. 1890ish. Tim and I will never be the only hearts beating here. Ants, spiders, moths, insects I will never see call this place home. And mice. God, the mice.

It’s been worse than usual this year. Chinks have again developed in our slate foundation. I have a guy who’s going to fill those up before winter. But in and out of the basement go the mice. Chipmunks too, no doubt, although I haven’t seen a chipmunk in the house yet.

I know it’s stupid that I can’t seem to willingly kill them. It’s not like I’m a vegetarian (which doesn’t mean I would eat the mice, only that dead animals are a regular part of my life). It’s not like I want them here. Sometimes they really piss me off.

For instance, I was in the front hall early in the week, and I put on my hiking shoes, which had been sitting there maybe two days since last use. Someone had dropped some bird seed in them.

So I set one of my traps—you know, like Havaharts, only these are called Mice Cubes—by the shoes along with the one in the kitchen, the one in the basement, the one in the mudroom. Each morning: no mouse in the front-hall trap. I began to wonder if maybe I’d gotten that seed in my shoes myself when I’d cleaned up around the feeder.

But last night, just as I was falling asleep, I heard the distinctive banging of an animal downstairs.

I’m always amazed by how much bigger-than-actual-size any animal can sound. Squirrels in the woods sound raccoon sized. Raccoons sound bear sized. I’m not sure I want to know how big bears sound.

I was not going to get any sleep with that Chihuahua-sized-sounding mouse banging around in the Mice Cube. I had to get up, robe up, and release it on the front porch. Not ideal, but it was out of the house for at least a few minutes. No more banging.

The usual morning to routine is to walk down to the creek to release the captive. At least then they have an uphill climb to the house.

I am not naïve enough to think that they don’t come back.

They don’t miss a beat.

BY9: (No) Pride September 25, 2012

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

After my last BY post, which documented my slow progress in this combined big-year process, new-species sightings (not unlike my writing) came to a screeching halt. Eventually I saw my own little green heron—often, in fact—probably the same one over and over again on the rail trail. In July I added broad-winged hawk and American redstart, which brought my personal total to 104.

Alas, I was banking on my trip to Colorado to provide me with some great sightings, like last year’s trip to northern California. But it was not to be. There were times when I wondered if Denver and Boulder were bird-free zones. It was as if the winged ones had all picked up and migrated south just before our arrival. I see far more birds in eastern cities on a regular basis.

We missed a lot of large birds simply because we’d spot them while driving and have no place to pull over and verify—we missed some big raptors, possibly even a golden eagle (was it or wasn’t it?). I added a mere five species on the trip: black-billed magpie, Wilson’s warbler, Blackburnian warbler, Stellar’s jay, and American dipper (and I didn’t even get to watch the dipper dip). I’m at 109. At the end of September. What a sad, sad showing.

Maybe I need to work in a quick trip to see Sewa Yoleme before the end of the year.